A friend of mine, Ginger on her blog recently posted three pictures of herself over the past three years to show the signs of her aging. It seemed like an interesting exercise of self-reflection, self-loathing and self-confrontation, so I thought I'd try it out too. A note for those faint of heart: the photos I chose would probably not be my first choices to represent these years. They are sadly, the only ones I have on my laptop right now.
1996: Me working in the pineapple fields of Del Monte in Kunai Hawai'i. Its a long story, but a spent two summers in Hawai'i picking pineapples, packing pineapples and weeding pineapple fields
1999: Me at the opening of my first solo art exhibit on Guam at the Two Lover's Point/KAHA gallery. The name of the was Typhoon: An Island's Intensity. The suit is not mine, it was borrowed from the brother of my girlfriend at the time. Otro fino'-ta, ti manggo'te yu' setbesa, Asam Black Tea ayu. You can find a few of the pieces that I had in that show on my old art website
2001: A self-potrait. 1999 to 2001 was my most intense period of painting, where I would spend nearly every night in the Fine Arts building at the University of Guam painting the night away. I would eat there, sleep there, and do a number of other things there. The floor of the painting room is still caked with a number of my excessive strokes, splashes and accidental spills. At most colleges your not supposed to be using the facilities at night. Thankfully during this period either the second floor of the Fine Arts Building was open or I could just break into it. When I last visited there though, new doors had been installed, more difficult to break into. This probably signifying something important in my growing up.
2002: Me at my friend Fegurgur's house in Talo'fo'fo' (mismo i na'an-na Naomi Cruz Sablan) for one of her kid's birthday party. Maolekna na guaha otro litratu giya Guahu ginnen este na sakkan, sa' kalang malamana yu' gi este. Siempre humuyong i matan ti ya-hu, put i minamahlao-hu nu malitratu-ku. I miss that Malafunkshun t-shirt, I have no idea where it is right now.
2003: This is me a few months after I moved to San Diego to start applying for graduate school. The headpiece that I'm wearing is called a suetdu, made by Si Tun Ben Meno, taotao Inalahan. In 2002 I was hired for the first time by Puerto Rican filmmaker Frances Negron-Muntaner to be her local producer for a documentary she was making about Chamorros and Guam. Si Tun Ben was one of the people I arranged to be interviewed and he gave us background on the history of Inalahan, antes di i gera, duranten i gera, ya pi'ot put i bidan Pale' Jesus Baza Duenas. We ended up interviewing him several times and before we left he gave each of us in the crew a suetdu. I wore mine for several years before it began to break in the fall of 2005.
2004: This was taken at the wedding for my then girlfriend's cousin in Diamond City. It was my first Hindi wedding and I had a blast dancing in my Nehru jacket that we had bought a few weeks earlier. Unfortunately, the collar was a bit tight and so I had to open it up while I wore it, making me look like some sort of Pale' Shah Ruhk Khan on the dance floor.
2005: Back on Guam after a year and a half away, I performed my poem "I am Chamorro" at the first Sinangan-ta. This photo was taken by someone at the performance and then sent to me via Kie Susuico and Fanai Castro. For those who haven't attended a Sinangan-ta or heard of it, the space when I went in 2005 was TRULY incredible. Yanggen un li'e este siempre linemlem hao, ya ti pon hongge hafa un li'li'e. Manmatto yan mandana este siha ni' manhoben guihi, ya fine'nina nai un li'e' siha buente un hasso baba put siha, na puru ha' mangga'mumateriat (manmaterialistic) ya mannina'ye siha ni' guinifen Amerikanu. Lao an un li'e' i kinlamten i manhoben, i manessalao-niha, guihi siempre matulaika i hinasso-mu. Because of the incredible creative energy of the space, people who wouldn't normally have been in favor of even mentioning decolonization, were suddenly roaring for it to take place. Cheering for it as if they were watching some UFC or Prueba Hao fight.
2006: Me speaking at the Famoksaiyan: Decolonizing Chamorro Histories, Identities and Futures conference at the Sons and Daughters of Guam Club in San Diego. You can find the text of what I was saying here.